For our next School Development Plan (2011 - 14), we will be focussing on the World Around Us learning area of the curriculum. This area includes the 'subject' areas of history, geography and science. Naturally,the Titanic Centenary has obvious links, although development of the school grounds - for learning and play - will also be important factors in the progress of the plan. This month saw us receive two massive boosts towards our work, with, first of all, the school being selected as a support school for the STEM project on outdoor learning, and secondly, being selected to host the SEELB's Primary Technology Challenge in 2012, in recognition of the Titanic Centenary.
STEM is the Government's initiative to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our STEM teacher, Mrs Hunter, supported Mrs Connolly's P1, Mrs Van Giesen's P4 and Miss Fisher's P5 classes in their development of outdoor learning opportunities. The staff and children had a great time and are already sharing their ideas and resources with the rest of the school. The Foundation Stage (P1 & 2), for example, are busy planning events to sponsor their new Titanic-themed vegetable garden - more news and pictures soon!
Three of our P7 pupils took their technological skills to this year's SEELB Primary Technolgy Challenge and, in true Thomas Andrews' spirit, designed, built and operated their own 'Harry Potter Hogwart's Tower. We know their project - completed entirely on their own without any teacher input - was successful, because they won the challenge! This was a fantastic achievement and the children are putting in some practice before the grand final event at the Odyssey in Belfast in June.
On the sporting front, various teams are competing at the 'business end' of the season. The 7-a-side football league was secured with our team going through the season without losing a single match. In fact, they boys won all but their final game, with only two goals conceded throughout the season. What a record - true invincibles. Take note Mr Wenger...
Mind you, we did lose our quarter-final 11-a-side cup game to Abbey PS, Newtownards... Well done to Abbey and good luck in the semis!
Londonderry Park proved a happier hunting ground for our P7 cross-country runners. In a fantastic event, with the children having to complete a 1300m race, our girls finished in overall 3rd place and our boys won - brilliant! We now progress to the finals in May.
The girls have been busy competing in netball tournaments, as well as football coaching in advance of their own tournament in April - news and pictures to follow.
Boys and girls from P6 volunteered to take part in the Ards Borough Council's Tag Rugby festival at Ards RFC, just playing themselves into the event when rain stopped play! Great fun while it lasted, though... And at least we gor the picture taken while the sun was still out!
You will have read about our Intergenerational Learning project on the website already. We brought this first phase of the project to a fitting conclusion with a musical afternoon, during which Mrs Knaggs and the P7 children helped our senior citizens learn 'When I'm sixty-four'... Of course, the real learning was the other way around, as the adults were teaching the children one of their 'old favourites'! The 2nd Comber Catering Corps, while still taking part in the singing, delighted everyone with a great afternoon tea. We are looking forward to a celebration event for all schools' intergenerational projects in May, when we'll be presenting lots of shared stories about the Andrews Memorial Hall, lots of photos and our recently completed dvd recording. This project has been a great success on many fronts and our sincere thanks must go to Ms Graham for all her hard work and dedication - quite simply, without her, we couldn't have managed it!
Our P7 pupils have continued their business / entrepreneurial project, the Paris Bun Company, with a visit from Ted Jensen, proprietor and founder of Big Ted's American Cookies. Ted came to school, armed, of course, with plenty of cookies for the staff and children, and spoke to the P7s about running their own business - he even had to field some searching questions about business strategy from some of the 'sharper cookies' in the year group... The next sale is on Friday morning - treats will be on offer to staff and pupils from breaktime onwards.
We'll be back soon with our pictures; in the meantime, please check the year group newsheets for further updates as we approach the Easter holidays.
Comic Relief is always a day that gets the children excited and this year, we decided to spruce up the teachers' cars with the help of staff from Barclays... Very wet and lots of fun!
Finally, we at Andrews are genuinely proud to have been able to host the 2nd Santa Cycle in aid of Bowel Cancer UK - the event started last year by Rosi Kirker, bowel cancer survivor and simply brilliantly innovative and enthusiastic woman. Once again, the Santas met at Titanic Quarter in Belfast and made their way along the Greenway to the school, where refreshments satisfied some 300 participants before many made the return trip to Bellfast. Of course, we must commend our own school families who took part, many of whom made the full return journey themsleves, starting and finishing in Comber. Despite the warmish weather, we all dressed accordingly, making the event a brilliantly colourful procession. Although postponed from December's original date, we think there may be some momentum for next year's event bypassing the now almost traditional freezing N. Ireland Christmas!